Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
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Stacked boxes, entry, and Co-op sign.
Words from the architect
This project expands and renovates one of the largest cooperative foodstores in the western United States. The Davis Food Co-op occupies an important leadership role within the cooperative movement - locally, nationally, and internationally. As such, when the co-op decided to expand, it began the process by asking every member to describe his or her dream-store. What should it look like? What features should it have? The results established a basic trajectory for the project, which was subsequently refined during two years of highly interactive design development. Ultimately, many of the features introduced through this process are ideas which would not have emerged from a more traditional 'top down' approach.
Metal entry and wood dining terrace.
The project which emerged from this 'bottom up' design approach may best be understood in reference to two primary categories: language and symbol.
LANGUAGE. The membership chose (almost unanimously) to update the store's visual identity from the existing 1950s shed-roof supermarket. The resulting project completely surrounds and conceal the existing building with six distinct abstract forms.
SYMBOL. The Co-op is a highly symbolic project. Ten different symbolic tropes - both formal and programmatic - represent the store's leadership role within the cooperative movement.
Flower mural and stacked boxes.
Material changes emphasize programmatic distinctions between the five abstract perimeter forms. From left to right:
The new plan reorients the interior towards a corner entry, which faces the primary pedestrian and bike access routes. This emphasis on alternative forms of access (other than automobiles) emphasizes the environmental friendliness of the new store.
Flower mural detail.
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